Skip to main content Accessibility help

The Egyptian mongoose, Herpestes ichneumon, is a possible reservoir host of visceral leishmaniasis in eastern Sudan

  • D. A. ELNAIEM (a1) (a2) (a3), M. M. HASSAN (a1), R. MAINGON (a2), G. H. NURELDIN (a1), A. M. MEKAWI (a1), M. MILES (a4) and R. D. WARD (a2)...

Investigations were made on possible reservoir hosts of Leishmania donovani in 2 zoonotic foci of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in Dinder National Park (DNP) and the peri-domestic habitats of adjacent villages of eastern Sudan. Animals were captured, in November 1997–1998 and April–May 1999 and examined for L. donovani infection using light microscopy and 2 sensitive Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) systems. Microscopy and PCR investigations were also used to determine the infection rates of L. donovani in Phlebotomus orientalis captured from the uninhabited site of DNP. Infections of L. donovani were detected in 2 out of 14 Egyptian mongooses (Herpestes ichneumon), 1 out of 168 Arviconthus niloticus and 1 out of 8 Mastomys natalensis. Samples from 68 other animals captured from the study area were all negative for the infection. Active zoonotic transmission of L. donovani at the time of animal sampling in the uninhabited site of DNP was demonstrated by finding the parasite in 3.4% (7 out of 184) and 3.2% (5 out of 157) of flies collected in March 1998 and May 1999, respectively. We suggest that the Egyptian mongoose is a possible reservoir host of L. donovani. The importance of other animals in maintaining the infection is also discussed.

Corresponding author
Corresponding author: School of Life Sciences, Keele University, Staffordshire ST5 5BG, UK. Tel: +44 1782 58 3417. Fax: +44 1782 58 3516. E-mail:
Hide All
ASHFORD, R. W. (1996). Leishmaniasis reservoirs and their significance in control. Clinical Dermatology 14, 523532.
ASHFORD, R. W. & BETTINI, S. (1987). Ecology and Epidemiology: Old World. In The Leishmaniasis in Biology and Medicine, Vol. 1 Biology and Epidemiology (ed. PETERS, W. & KILLICK-KENDRICK, R.), pp. 366424. Orlando Academic Press, Orlando, USA.
ASHFORD, R. W., SEAMAN, J., SCHORCHER, J. & PRATLONG, F. (1992). Epidemic visceral leishmaniasis in southern Sudan: identity and systematic position of the parasites from patients and vectors. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 86, 379380.
COURTNEY, O., SANTANA, E. W., JOHNSON, P. J., VASCONCELOS, I. A. B. & VASCONCELOS, A. W. (1996). Visceral leishmaniasis in the hoary zorro Dusicyon vetulus: A case of mistaken identity. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 90, 498502.
DEURERE, J., BONI, M., PRATLONG, F., OSMAN, M., BOUCHETON, B., EL-SAFI, S., FEUGIER, E., MUSA, M. K., DAROUST, B., DESSEIN, A. & DEDET, J. P. (2000). Visceral leishmaniasis in Sudan: First identification of Leishmania from dogs. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 94, 154155.
DESJEUX, P. (1996). Leishmaniasis. Public health aspects and control. Clinical Dermatology 14, 417423.
EL HASSAN, A. M., ZIJLSTRA, E. E., MEREDITH, S. E. O. & ISMAIL, A. (1993). Identification of Leishmania donovani, using a polymerase chain reaction in patients and animal material from an area of endemic kala-azar in the Sudan. Acta Tropica 55, 8790.
ELNAIEM, D. A., HASSAN, H. K. & WARD, R. D. (1997). Phlebotomine sandflies in a focus of visceral leishmaniasis in a border area of eastern Sudan. Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 91, 307318.
ELNAIEM, D. A. & OSMAN, O. F. (1998). Evidence for active transmission of visceral leishmaniasis within a village in eastern Sudan. Acta Tropica 71, 305309.
ELNAIEM, D. A., WARD, R. D., MILES, M. A. & FRAME, I. A. (1998). Infection rates of Leishmania donovani in Phlebotomus orientalis from a visceral leishmaniasis focus in eastern Sudan. Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 92, 229232.
HOOGSTRAAL, H. & HEYNEMANN, D. (1969). Leishmaniasis in the Sudan Republic. 30. Final epidemiological report. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 18, 10911210.
KILLICK-KENDRICK, R. (1992). Phlebotomine vectors of the leishmaniasis. A review. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 41, 124.
KINGDON, J. (1997). The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press, Harcourt Brace and Company, London.
KIRK, R. (1939). Studies in leishmaniasis in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Part 1. Epidemiology and general considerations. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 42, 533544.
LAINSON, R. (1983). The American leishmaniasis: Some observations on their ecology and epidemiology. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 77, 569596.
LAINSON, R., SHAW, J. J. & LINS, Z. C. (1969). Leishmaniasis in Brazil: IV. The fox, Cerdocyon thous (L.) as a reservoir of Leishmania donovani in Pará State, Brazil. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 63, 741745.
LAINSON, R., WARD, R. & SHAW, J. J. (1976). Cutaneous leishmaniasis in north Brazil: Lutzomyia anduzei as a major vector. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 70, 171172.
NOYES, H. A., REYBURN, H., BAILEY, J. W. & SMITH, D. (1998). A nested-PCR-based schizodeme method for identifying Leishmania kinetoplast minicircle classes directly from clinical samples and its application to the study of the epidemiology of Leishmania tropica in Pakistan. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 36, 28772881.
OSKAM, L., PRATLONG, F., ZIJLSTRA, E. E., KROON, C. C. M., DEDET, J.P., KAGER, P. A., SCHONIAN, G., GHALIB, H. W., EL HASSAN, A. M. & MEREDITH, S. E. O. (1998). Biochemical and molecular characterization of Leishmania parasites isolated from an endemic focus in eastern Sudan. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 92, 120122.
PALMORES, F. & DELIBES, M. (1993). Resting ecology and behaviour of Egyptian mongooses (Herpestes ichneumon) in southwestern Spain. Journal of Zoology 230, 557566.
PETERS, W. & KILLICK-KENDRICK, R. (1987). The Leishmaniasis in Biology and Medicine, Vols I and II. Orlando Academic Press, Orlando, USA.
SCHORSCHER, J. A. & GORIS, M. (1992). Incrimination of Phlebotomus (Larroussius) orientalis as a vector of visceral leishmaniasis in Western Upper Nile Province, southern Sudan. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 86, 622623.
SEAMANN, J., MERCER, A. J. & SONDORP, E. (1996). The epidemic of visceral leishmaniasis in Western Upper Nile, Southern Sudan: course and impact from 1984 to 1994. International Journal of Epidemiology 25, 862971.
SIXL, W., SIXL, B., ABDEL-NABI, O. & SEBEK, Z. (1987). Contribution to the problem of the diagnosis of leishmaniasis in south Sudan. Geographical Medicine 5, 189203.
SMYTH, A. J., GHOSH, A., HASSAN, M. Q., BASU, D., DEBRUIJN, M. H. L., ADHAYA, S., MALIK, K. K. & BARKER, D. (1992). Rapid and sensitive detection of Leishmania kinetoplast DNA from spleen and blood samples of kala-azar patients. Parasitology 105, 183192.
THOMSON, M. C., ELNAIEM, D. A., ASHFORD, R. W. & CONNOR, S. J. (1999). The development of a kala-azar risk map for Sudan: mapping the potential distribution of Phlebotomus orientalis using digital data of environmental variables. Tropical Medicine and International Health 4, 105113.
ZIJLSTRA, E. E., EL HASSAN, A. M., GHALIB, H. W. & ISMAEL, A. (1994). Endemic kala-azar in eastern Sudan: a longitudinal study on the incidence of clinical and sub-clinical disease and post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 51, 826836.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0031-1820
  • EISSN: 1469-8161
  • URL: /core/journals/parasitology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed